Integration of outdoor learning activities through public participation in landscape character assessment



Publication Date

August 2022


In Hungary, as part of the national level landscape character research, landscape character assessment was prepared at the study area level between 2019 and 2021. One of the study areas was the Tápió-region. This study area is located in the Central Hungary region, Pest County, and covers a total of 9 settlements. During the analysis of the landscape characteristics, it was possible to address the stakeholders, so a great emphasis was given to the involvement of the locals. The main research : How locals perceive the character of the landscape? Stakeholders were involved in two ways, one was the online questionnaire and the other was the organization of workshops. As a result of the public participation, the online questionnaire was completed by 42 people, and a total of 144 people participated in personal and online workshops. Throughout the research, four in-person workshops were organized, as well as an additional online workshop to present the results. Each workshop had a different theme, and each meeting involved different stakeholder groups (local primary school students, local camp participants, residents and domestic tourists, NGO representatives). The methods used included small group guided conversations, descriptions of individual opinions, community mapping, interactive landscaping board games, grouping of study area photographs, asking for feedback on previous results, and a stand-alone guided conversation. Based on the results of small group and stand-alone guided conversations, it can be concluded that the locals also perceive the difference between the previously identified landscape character units: differences are primarily seen in the services and technical infrastructure. The most important values of the area according to the locals was collected: watercourses and lakes, reeds and wetlands, semi-natural grasslands, forests, protected natural areas, educational trails. Among the necessary changes in the area, the participants highlighted the conservation and restoration of natural values, restoration of watercourses, and the development of hiking trails in the Tápió-region. With the help of the interactive board game, we were also able to get answers in a playful way about what land use changes would be needed according to the locals. Based on the experience of the workshops organized during the research, it can be stated that the locals are happy to share their opinions on landscape-related issues in their own environment, even when addressed in outdoor locations.